Michael White

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

No. 17 Texas A&M pulls away from Florida 72-66 in SEC

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jalen Jones made a go-ahead layup with 2:08 remaining and Alex Caruso followed with a steal and a layup 13 seconds later to key a late 7-0 run that pushed No. 17 Texas A&M past Florida 72-66 on Friday in the quarterfinals of Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Playing for the first time as the tournament’s top seed, the Aggies (25-7) needed everything to break free of a Florida team that stayed with them throughout a tight game featuring 11 ties and eight lead changes.

Danuel House followed those two quick baskets with a 3-pointer with 1:02 left to provide some more room, and Admon Gilder’s two free throws with 22.8 seconds left sealed the Aggies’ seventh straight win. Caruso added two more foul shots six seconds later.

House and Tyler Davis each scored 15 points for Texas A&M, which will face the Tennessee-LSU winner in Saturday’s semifinal. Jones finished with 13 points.

Kasey Hill’s 18 points led five players in double figures for eighth-seeded Florida (19-14).

Dorian Finney-Smith and John Egbunu each added 11 points for Florida, but Egbunu fouled out with just under three minutes left. Texas A&M then made several plays in the closing minutes to seal the back-and-forth game.

A day after dispatching Arkansas, Florida wondered whether it could win another game to help solidify its NCAA Tournament resume. The Gators gave it a run for a while, trading baskets and leads with the Aggies up to the 2:24 mark as Hill made two free throws to tie the game at 61.

Then came the final swing for Texas A&M as it closed the game on a 11-5 spurt.

First came Jones’ glide to the hoop, one of several athletic plays by the Aggies. Caruso followed by picking off a pass and racing down the court for another easy basket.

House’s long-range jumper provided the exclamation point, though it came down to Gilder’s free throws to make it final.

Both teams shot 39 percent, but the Aggies came away with a key win in their quest to win the tournament title.

House in particular thrived, despite 1-of-6 shooting from outside, making up for it with several quick moves including a baseline drive for a dunk. Davis, with eight rebounds, helped the Aggies stay even on the boards.

The Aggies’ problem was breaking free of a Florida squad that matched the same quick tempo and made more baskets. Allen and Finney-Smith combined for 16 points and got scoring help from other Gators who also chipped in on the boards.



Florida: Devin Robinson and Kevaughn Allen each had 10 points for the Gators, who outrebounded the Aggies 45-43.

Texas A&M: The Aggies entered the game having won their last six by an average margin of 10.1 points.


Florida: Awaiting postseason announcement.

Texas A&M: Faces Tennessee-LSU winner in Saturday’s semifinal.

Miami assistant Eric Konkol to be named Louisiana Tech head coach

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Eric Konkol, the longtime assistant for Jim Larranaga, will reportedly take the reins of his own program.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN and Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported just after midnight on Sunday that Konkol had agreed to terms to become Louisiana Tech’s head coach.

Konkol will replace Michael White, who filled the vacancy at Florida after future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan jumped to the NBA.

Parrish reported that North Florida’s Matt Driscoll, Oklahoma assistant Steve Henson and Baylor assistant Jerome Tang were among the other candidates. Current and former Louisiana Tech players had used social media to push for assistant coach Dusty May to get the job.

Konkol has served as an assistant for Larranaga at both Miami and George Mason.

Top 100 signee sticking with Florida

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With former Florida signee Noah Dickerson asking to be released from his National Letter of Intent and KeVaughn Allen undecided in the aftermath of a head coaching change, new head coach Michael White has some work to do on the recruiting front. He was on the receiving end of some good news Wednesday evening, as it was reported by multiple outlets that small forward Keith Stone will remain committed to Florida.

Stone joins forward Kevarrius Hayes as signees who have committed to playing for White, and hanging onto those additions is an important development for Florida as they begin a new era of basketball.

Hayes and Stone will join a program that has some holes to fill due to the departures of Michael Frazier II, Eli Carter and Chris Walker. Guards Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill return, as will forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Alex Murphy.

The newcomers will have the opportunity to earn minutes under White, who had at least eight players average ten minutes per game in each of his four seasons at Louisiana Tech.

Assigned Reading: How Jeremy Foley found his new head coach

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How athletic directors handle head coaching searches is one of the more interesting aspects of collegiate athletics. With the rise of search firms, some lean upon those outlets to not only establish connections but also narrow down the field of possible candidates for the opening.

But not all athletic directors use firms to do the legwork, either doing the work themselves or with the aid of a committee consisting of others within the athletic department and school community. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley had a committee to help him through the process following Billy Donovan’s decision to take the Oklahoma City Thunder job, but this search began to take shape even before Donovan made the move.

Chris Harry of Gatorzone.com (the school’s official athletics website) wrote a story breaking down the entire process that led to Foley offering the job to then-Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White.

Even with season-ending injuries to reigning MVP Kevin Durant and defensive whiz Serge Ibaka, rumors that OKC coach Scott Brooks’ job was in jeopardy had been circulating for months and that Donovan, with his brilliant offensive acumen, would be attractive replacement. Thunder general manager Sam Presti, along with his metrics analyst Oliver Winterbone, who served from 2010-14 as Donovan’s video coordinator, had visited Gainesville in February and attended Gators practices, shoot-arounds and a couple games.

They likely weren’t there four days to scout Chris Walker.

The Thunder’s regular season ended April 15, as the team missed the playoffs via a tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans. Speculation immediately amped regarding Brooks’ job, which meant the Gators further readied their just-in-case list of coaches in the likely event OKC came after Donovan.

The full story of how Florida made its decision can be read here.

Louisiana Tech players petitioning on Twitter for Dusty May to get head coaching job

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The coaching carousel has turned its focus to Ruston, Louisiana.

On Thursday night, Louisiana Tech’s Michael White agreed to become the next head coach at Florida, replacing future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported on Friday that White will bring assistants Jordan Mincy and Darris Nichols with him to Gainesville.

That leaves one spot left on White’s staff for Louisiana Tech associate head coach Dusty May. Although, current and former players have made it clear that they want May to be promoted and take over the Louisiana Tech program.

Even though players like Kenneth ‘Speedy’ Smith, the 2015 Conference USA Player of the Year, have exhausted their eligibility, that hasn’t stopped them from voicing their support via Twitter.

May joined Kerry Rupp’s staff in 2009 and stayed on during White’s tenure. The Bulldogs won three consecutive regular season conference titles — one in the WAC, two in C-USA — going 83-24 in that span. According to Sean Isabella of the News Star, Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland said he would “consider an internal hire.”

Florida announces hiring of Louisiana Tech’s Michael White as head coach


After stating earlier this week that his search for a new head coach may not be completed until “sometime in June,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has found Billy Donovan’s replacement.

Michael White, who won more than 71 percent of his games in four seasons as the head coach at Louisiana Tech (101-40 record), has been hired as the new head coach at Florida. The school announced the news Thursday evening. White has experience in the SEC as both a player and a coach, as he played four years at Ole Miss and was also a member of the coaching staff for seven seasons before being hired at Louisiana Tech.

“Michael White is someone who came to the top of our list very quickly and he checks all of the boxes we were looking for,” Foley said in the release. “He is a winner who has a high level of integrity, plays an up-tempo style of play and has the respect of his peers and the basketball community.

“He has experience in coaching, recruiting and playing in the Southeastern Conference and has a strong pedigree. He has a certain authenticity with people and is not afraid of challenges.”

While White did not lead Louisiana Tech to an NCAA tournament during his four seasons in Ruston, he did preside over one of the most successful three-year stretches in program history. Louisiana Tech made three NIT appearances, winning regular season titles in two different conferences (WAC and Conference USA), and won 27 games or more in each of the last three seasons.

White’s teams at Louisiana Tech looked to speed things up defensively, using full-court pressure to force turnovers on 23.7 percent of their opponents’ possessions in conference play last season. He’ll have some work to do in regards to the roster, including making sure that the recruits who have signed to attend Florida remain on board, but this is a step many believed White capable of making after his success at Louisiana Tech.

A native of Dunedin, Florida, White has plenty of connections throughout the state and region, and that will help recruiting-wise moving forward. According to the school, White has agreed to a six-year deal that will pay him a base salary of $2 million per season.